161207 Isaiah 35:1-10

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 December 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Isaiah 35:1-10
Theme: Promises Made, Promises Kept: The Redeemed Will Rejoice!

Have you ever made a promise, and not kept it? I think that most of us here have at one time or another made a promise, but then we failed to keep the promise. How do you feel when someone makes you a promise but doesn't keep it? For example, how would you feel if someone told you, "On Christmas morning there will be presents for you to open.", but then Christmas morning comes and there is not one present that has your name on it! I am sure that you would be very disappointed.

Most likely there were many of God's people living at the time of Isaiah who were afraid that God would not keep his promises to them. The Lord made them a promise that as they lived out their days in exile, they would have reason to celebrate. I am sure that as year after year went by, there were some who doubted more and more that the Lord would keep his promise. But after the 70 years in exile came to an end, and God's people returned to the promise land, they had reason to rejoice.

In his Word, our Lord God has made you and me promises as well. As we take a closer look at Isaiah chapter 35 this evening, we will see that they are promises made and promises kept. Tonight, the Savior God's promise is that THE REDEEMED WILL REJOICE! At this time, I will read again verses 4-7 of chapter 35:

Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

In his sermon last Wednesday evening, Pastor Schlomer reminded us that as a prophet of the Lord, Isaiah worked during a very difficult time in Israel. The majority of God's people had turned away from the one true God. The situation was so bad that the Lord God made a promise that they would one day fall as a nation. When taken together, chapters 28 – 35 form a unit speaking about final judgment upon several nations, including Israel to the north and Judah to the south.

But among the many who had turned away from the Lord, there was still a small group of believers who trusted that he would keep the promise that they would return to the Promised Land one day. It is to these remaining believers that Isaiah writes, "Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear . . .'" Here the loving Lord is speaking "to those with fearful hearts." More literally, they are the people with "hasty hearts." These are the people who were anxiously waiting for and looking for the Lord God to keep his promise. The God of mercy offers words of comfort to these people when he says, "Be strong, do not fear." Why can the remaining believers be strong and not fear? Because the Lord God says, "'your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.'" In his own time, and in his own way, the Lord would assure the remaining believers that he would keep his promise. Yes, keeping his promise would mean judgment on the wicked unbelievers. However, it would also mean rescue for God's people who trusted that he would keep his promise to save them.

The word of God that is before us in this chapter of Isaiah's prophecy also points ahead to a far greater time; a time when the promised Savior would be walking on this earth. Throughout his ministry, Jesus provided deliverance from the physical difficulties of people as he performed miracle after miracle. With these miracles he proved his divine power and his claim to be the Son of God. It is in Matthew chapter 11, that followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" To which Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised . . ."

But the deliverance Jesus brought was not only a physical deliverance. More importantly, it was a spiritual one for he also says that "the good news is preached to the poor." The Good News that Jesus was preaching was that he is the one promised to redeem sinful mankind from their sins. Jesus paid in full the price demanded for your sins and mine. Jesus is the one who delivers you and me from punishment in hell to a never-ending life with him in heaven.

Isaiah chapter 35 points even farther ahead, to the final judgment the Judge of all mankind will carry out. For on the great Last Day, unbelievers will see the "vengeance" and "divine retribution" of the Lord as he throws them "into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." But to those who trust his promises, the Savior says, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come." And when he comes on Judgment Day he will say to you and me and all believers, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." The Lord's promise to you and to me is that in the perfect joys of heaven, you and I will be free from all sin and the effects of sin.

Here is Isaiah chapter 35, the Lord's prophet uses several pictures to describe the perfect joys of heaven. He uses phrases such as: "The desert and the parched land will be glad"; "the wilderness will rejoice and blossom"; "the lame will leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy"; "water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs"; "no lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there." In Revelation chapter 21, the Lord's Disciple John describes the perfect joys of heaven with similar words found here in Isaiah chapter 35: "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"

As you and I continue to prepare our hearts during this Advent season, we hear the Good News that we have a Savior who came to this earth to pay in full the price for all of our sins. We hear the Good News that as Christ's redeemed people, whose sins have been paid for in full, you and I are able to look forward to the day when he comes again and we will live with him forever in the perfect joys of heaven. As one who is redeemed through the blood of Jesus your Savior, rejoice in promises made and promises kept. Amen.

 

 

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